Grace Brown (FDJ Suez) had been ever so close to clinching her first Women’s WorldTour GC win at the Women’s Tour in 2022, but in the end it was a single second that stood in her way. Lining up at the home nation race of the women’s Santos Tour Down Under she had no intention of letting another one slip so narrowly through her fingers.
“I mean, I was really disappointed in the Women’s Tour of Britain, especially losing by one second there but I learnt lessons from that too,” Brown said after sweeping up victory in stage 3 and overall. “I think those lessons helped me win this week by going on the first stage for sprint bonuses and everything like that so that I could put myself a bit forward.”
“Because we don’t know what’s going to happen on the last stage here today. I think I was wise.”
Brown had prepared for the eventuality she faced coming into the final kilometres, it was after all a former teammate, Amanda Spratt (Trek-Segafredo) who was out the front and there was certainly no surprise that she’d launched a scorching attack on the final climb of the Corkscrew.
There was also no surprise that Brown was in hot pursuit, with her gearing set up in anticipation that it could be a chase to the line to try and win the three-stage race in its very first year on the Women’s WorldTour.
“I was literally thinking I have to push, keep pushing and at first I couldn’t see her because of all the corners and then I could see a moto and I was like she must be ahead of that,” said Brown, happily reliving the moment where she set up her first-ever Women’s WorldTour GC victory.
“I think it was in the last three kilometres, when I first saw Spratty and I thought, Yeah, I can catch her now but I was thinking maybe I should back off a little bit so that I could catch her by surprise in the finish. In the end, I caught her in the last kilometre and I just sat on and trusted that I could outsprint her.”
And outsprint her she did, and given Grace Brown entered the stage with a six-second advantage over Spratt on the overall that clearly put her in the ochre jersey of the overall leader as well right when it counted most, on the final stage.
“I was pretty confident after Nationals that I was in good form and I believed that it was a possibility to win here this week,” said Brown, who came second in the road race there and took out the time trial title. “After stage two, I didn’t feel great yesterday, I was a little bit worried but when we started…